Donald Penn

Raiders’ Donald Penn Unlikely To Play

An official decision on whether to bring Donald Penn back off injured reserve won’t come for a couple days, head coach Jon Gruden says. However, Gruden does not anticipate the veteran offensive tackle playing again this season (Twitter link via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area). 

[RELATED: Raiders Designate Donald Penn For Return]

Penn was designated for return earlier this month, but that was a perplexing move by the Raiders on a few different fronts. First, the move blocked Marshawn Lynch from potentially playing in the club’s Christmas Eve home finale, which might have bought them some good will in Oakland. Secondly, the Raiders would risk being stuck with the entirety of Penn’s 2019 salary if he were to suffer a serious injury down the stretch.

As it stands, the Raiders have an escape hatch on the 35-year-old’s deal. If they want to release Penn in the offseason, they can 86 his contract with just $1.75MM left in dead money.

At 3-11, there’s little reason for the Raiders to roll the dice on Penn’s health, so he’s unlikely to see the field for the club’s final two games against the Broncos and Chiefs.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Designate Donald Penn For Return

Left tackle Donald Penn will return to practice on Wednesday, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets. The move will trigger a three-week window for the club to bring him back from injured reserve. 

The move is a curious one for a few reasons. First, the Raiders’ season has been long over – at 2-10, winning will only serve to push the Raiders from the top of the draft order in April. Penn, meanwhile, may be a cap casualty candidate and a serious injury could leave the Raiders on the hook for his entire salary in 2019. As it stands, only $1.750MM of his 2019 income is guaranteed.

Also, by designating Penn for return, the Raiders are eliminating the possibility of Marshawn Lynch seeing the field again in 2018. The Raiders already burned one IR-DTR spot on defensive tackle Justin Ellis, so Lynch is now barred from playing in the club’s Christmas Eve home finale against the Broncos.

Penn appeared in 14 games for the Raiders last season, the first time in his career that he failed to appear in all 16 regular season contests. Pro Football Focus ranked him 23rd among eligible tackles, proving that the veteran still has something left in the tank. In his limited sample of four games this season, PFF gave him a putrid 47.0 overall score.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Hoping For Donald Penn Return

Raiders offensive tackle Donald Penn has been on injured reserve since early October, but head coach Jon Gruden is still hoping to get him back on the field this season (via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area).

[RELATED: Raiders Want To Keep Doug Martin]

He has been downstairs rehabbing and we are hoping he can come back and help us,” Gruden said. “I don’t know how close he is officially, but he is making progress. Hope to have him on the field before the season is over.”

Of course, the 2-9 Raiders aren’t playing for much this year, so there’s little sense in putting Penn on the field if he is less than 100%. There’s also the matter of his contract. As it stands, only $1.750MM of his 2019 income is guaranteed. However, if he were to suffer a serious injury, the Raiders could be on the hook for his entire salary.

Also, activating Penn would rule out the possibility of a Marshawn Lynch return. The Raiders already burned one IR-DTR spot on defensive tackle Justin Ellis, so activating Penn would keep Lynch from playing in the team’s Christmas Eve home finale against the Broncos.

Penn appeared in 14 games for the Raiders last season, the first time in his career that he failed to appear in all 16 regular season contests. Pro Football Focus ranked him 23rd among eligible tackles, proving that the veteran still has something left in the tank.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders To Place Donald Penn On IR

Donald Penn suffered a groin injury in the Raiders’ overtime win over the Browns and will head to IR as a result, Ian Rapoport and MJ Acosta of report (on Twitter).

The team does not view this as a season-ending malady, Rapoport adds, and Jon Gruden confirmed as such. Penn would be able to return in eight weeks.

The Raiders are turning to another team’s practice squad to replace Penn on the roster. They’re signing tackle Ian Silberman off the Titans’ practice squad, Paul Gutierrez of reports. Silberman went to the past two Raiders training camps and started at right tackle during part of the preseason. He made the team out of camp but was waived before Week 1.

Second-round pick Brandon Parker will start at right tackle on Sunday, according to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur (on Twitter), giving Oakland two rookie tackle starters flanking three proven veterans inside. Parker’s played 57 snaps this season. Penn has logged 188 at his new position, but, at least in the view of Pro Football Focus, the transition from left to right tackle has not gone well. Penn’s graded as the league’s worst full-time tackle, per PFF.

Nevertheless, the Raiders hope he can be an IR-return candidate. Penn’s profile would suggest as much. This has been another interesting year for the veteran blocker. He was the subject of trade rumors coming into the season, and the 35-year-old tackle was moved off the left side — where Kolton Miller now resides — for the first time in his 11-year NFL career. This occurred despite Penn making the past two Pro Bowls.

This injury will represent the most time Penn has missed as an NFLer as well. Prior to last season, when he played 14 games, Penn had suited up for every game of his career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Notes: Steelers, Big Ben, Raiders

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger landed in concussion protocol after absorbing a big hit in practice, but he is doing fine now and is expected to resume football activities soon, Jeremy Fowler of writes. Remarkably, this was Roethlisberger’s first time in the protocol, and fortunately it was a short stay for the 36-year-old.

Roethlisberger has said that his “long-term brain health” would play a role in the length of his NFL career, so the good news was certainly welcome for the Steelers QB.

Here’s more from the AFC:

AFC West Notes: Henderson, Broncos, Penn

Carlos Henderson has had a tough time so far in the NFL. After being taken with the 82nd overall pick in the 2017 draft by the Broncos, Henderson is yet to make his NFL debut. A hand injury cost him his entire rookie season, and he’s been away from the team this training camp for undisclosed reasons.

The team took Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton in the draft this year, making the receivers room very crowded with no clear spot for Henderson. To make matters even worse, Henderson was suspended for the first week of the season for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy reports Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic (Twitter link).

It likely stems from his arrest back in January on marijuana charges. Given that Henderson was already being projected by many as a roster cut and still hasn’t reported to the team, at this point it would be surprising if the former third round pick remains in Denver much longer.

Here’s more from the AFC West:

  • The details are in on Donald Penn‘s contract restructuring with the Raiders. His cap number in 2018 has been reduced to $4.975MM (down from $8.38MM0, and he’ll get $2.75MM in extra guaranteed money on his deal for 2019, a source told Field Yates of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • The reason for Martavis Bryant‘s absence from the last couple of Raiders practices is migraines, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (Twitter link). Tafur adds that migraines have “plagued him for years.”
  • The Raiders placed veteran defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin on injured reserve with a biceps tear, according to Michael Gehlken of Las Vegas Review-Journal (Twitter link). To make up for the loss of Rubin, the team claimed defensive tackle Gabe Wright off waivers today.

West Notes: Rams, Donald, Raiders, Penn

The Chiefs gave up on Marcus Peters largely because of his conduct in the locker room. Peters was the source of many headaches in KC, but head coach Sean McVay says the Rams did their homework on the cornerback before trading for him this offseason.

You talk to the people that have been around him, that you really value their opinion, you trust it,” McVay said (via Lindsey Thiry of “Got a lot of good things that came back in terms of a guy that loves football, does a lot of really good things for his community.”

The Rams added other bold personalities on defense, including cornerback Aqib Talib and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, but McVay isn’t concerned about how everyone will gel. McVay feels that 71-year-old defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has “more swag” than all of them combined and has the ability to keep them in line.

Here’s more from the West divisions:

Raiders Restructure Donald Penn’s Contract

It sounds like Donald Penn will be sticking with the Raiders. Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports (via Twitter) that the two sides have agreed to a restructured contract. We heard last week that the organization wanted the offensive lineman to take a pay cut, and they’d consider trading the veteran if he refused.

According to Gehlken, Penn agreed to a deal with “team-friendly parameters.” In exchange, the lineman will receive more guaranteed money over the next two years. The 35-year-old was set to earn a $6MM salary in 2018 (including $3MM in guaranteed money), as well as up to $1.75MM in per-game roster bonuses. These numbers stem from the two-year, $21MM extension he signed last year following a hold out. The deal runs through the 2019 season.

The 12-year veteran appeared in 14 games for the Raiders last season, the first time in his career that he failed to appear in all 16 regular season contests. Pro Football Focus ultimately ranked him 23rd among eligible tackles, proving that the veteran still has something left in the tank. The team seemingly selected a successor in first-rounder Kolton Miller during this past year’s draft, but the Raiders are hoping to slot both players into the starting lineup.

Of course, Penn still has to return to the field to make that a reality. He ended last season on the injured reserve with a foot injury, and he’s currently sitting on the Raiders’ physically unable to perform list following offseason surgery.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Could Trade LT Donald Penn

The Raiders are reportedly asking left tackle Donald Penn to accept a pay cut in advance of the 2018 season, and it’s possible Oakland could trade the veteran offensive lineman if he declines the request, according to Ian Rapoport of (video link).

That the Raiders would be open to dealing Penn shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as the club is likely attempting to generate trade interest in lieu of a release. If Penn refuses to lower his 2018 base salary, Oakland will consider cutting him, but a trade would be preferential on two fronts.

First, the Raiders would pick up some sort of compensation in exchange for Penn, something they wouldn’t do in the event of a release. And an acquiring club would take on Penn’s 2018 base salary (which includes $3MM in full guarantees), freeing up more cap space for Oakland.

Penn, 35, is scheduled to earn a $6MM salary in 2018, and is also eligible to collect up to $1.75MM in per-game roster bonuses. Those figures are the result of Penn’s 2017 training camp holdout, which ended when he agreed to a two-year, $21MM extension that runs through the 2019 campaign.

Last year, Penn started 14 games for the Raiders, grading as the NFL’s No. 12 offensive tackle per Pro Football Focus before being placed on injured reserve with a foot issue. 2017, notably, marked the first season of Penn’s career in which he failed to appear in all 16 games. If Penn is traded or released, Oakland would deploy rookie first-round pick Kolton Miller on Derek Carr‘s blindside.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Notes: Mack, Penn, Lee, Key

Khalil Mack and the Raiders are continuing their months-long staredown, an uneventful one at that, and have not made any recent progress, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. The subject of the Raiders’ wherewithal to pay their top player the guaranteed money he seeks still lurks, even if no official report has suggested this. Mark Davis‘ status as one of the league’s most cash-poor owners may become more relevant if the Rams agree to a deal with Aaron Donald soon, thus establishing a neighborhood for a Mack contract, Joel Corry of CBS Sports writes. Reggie McKenzie does not expect Mack to report without a contract, and Corry adds the Raiders’ agreement with Donald Penn on an extension after he ended his holdout probably doesn’t serve as relevant for the Mack situation. Due to the Raiders having not submitted an offer this offseason, Corry does not anticipate one would emerge shortly after he reported to the team.

Here’s the latest out of Oakland:

  • The Raiders indeed want Penn to accept a pay cut, Bair reports. This prospect surfaced earlier Wednesday, with a possible restructure being on the table as well. Penn, however, denied on Wednesday morning the Raiders have approached him about a reduction, Vic Tafur of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Penn has a cap number of $8.38MM. If the Raiders release him, Bair notes they would save $3MM — the non-guaranteed part of Penn’s $6MM base salary. And Penn would also miss out on $1.75MM in per-game roster bonuses. But Penn’s camp may be inclined to ride this out, leaving Jon Gruden to consider the prospect of a rookie (Kolton Miller) protecting Derek Carr‘s blind side, Tafur writes. Carr suffered a season-ending injury in 2016 and struggled with a back ailment last season.
  • Currently residing on the PUP list due to Lisfranc surgery in December, Penn is improving, Gruden said (via Bair, on Twitter). The Oakland HC said Penn is getting close and is hopefully back soon.
  • Gruden’s spoken highly of Derrick Johnson after adding the longtime Chiefs stalwart this offseason, but Tafur notes second-year linebacker Marquel Lee may now be better positioned to start at middle linebacker. Johnson could still factor in on passing downs, per Tafur, even at age 35. But he adds rookie UDFA Jason Cabina is seeing work in nickel sets as well. Lee impressed the Raiders last year, but that optimism soon gave way to the team signing NaVorro Bowman and installing him as the starter. The Raiders discussed a Bowman return this offseason, but the sides couldn’t agree on terms. A Vontaze Burfict trade didn’t get too far off the ground either, per Tafur.
  • If/when Mack re-emerges, new DC Paul Guenther is planning a passing-down set featuring Mack, Irvin, Arden Key and whichever of the Mario Edwards/Maurice Hurst/P.J. Hall trio is playing the best at that time, Bair notes. Key’s inclusion as the No. 3 man here is interesting, considering Edwards’ experience as an inside rusher and Key’s own fall to the third round. But the LSU product, once considered a possible first-rounder, has impressed the Raiders this summer.